Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac
Last week, we examined turnover rates of forensic scientists and looked at
methods for calculating the costs of personnel loss.
This week, due to technical difficulties, CLPEX is being re-hosted to a new
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compiled by Jon Stimac
Deseret News, UT
Feb 5, 2005
Utah is filling jobs with fingerprints unprocessed
By Jennifer Toomer-Cook and Geoffrey Fattah
Deseret Morning News
The state bureau that does criminal background checks has a five-month backlog —
and thousands of teachers and other professionals are being put to work without
official word on whether they pose a safety risk.
Deseret Morning News graphic
The backlog of 11,000 to 13,000 fingerprint cards surprises and concerns some
public education officials and legislators.
But a high-tech solution appears to be in sight — and just out of reach. Utah
unsuccessfully applied for a federal grant to get it. And money for it is rolled
into another Department of Public Safety budget request, unbeknownst to several
"I've heard that as a rumor," Rep. David Hogue, R-West Jordan and co-chairman of
the Appropriations Subcommittee for Executive Offices and Criminal Justice, said
of the BCI backlog. "But I have not heard it directly."
Between 11,000 and 13,000 fingerprint cards await processing at the Utah Bureau
of Criminal Identification, BCI manager Alice Erickson said. That's a four- to
Of those cards, 1,744 belong to new and student teachers — "the longest backlog
we've ever had," said Joan Patterson, state educator licensing coordinator.
Another 15 percent belong to volunteers, non-teacher coaches, substitute
teachers and other school district personnel, BCI chief Scott Behunin said.
The rest include real estate agents, mortgage lenders and people with access to
water utilities, the latter considered potential terrorist targets, he said.
The backlog is for fingerprinting only and doesn't affect all background checks.
For instance, of health- and child-care workers who have background checks, only
the few from out of state must be fingerprinted, said Iona Thraen, division
director of Health Systems Improvement for the Utah Department of Health.
Division workers do their own checks through BCI and child abuse databases, and
they are not experiencing a backlog.
Some professionals are allowed to work while their fingerprints are processed,
including real estate agents, mortgage lenders, teachers, substitutes and other
school workers, officials report.
The practice is unheard of among law enforcement and firefighters, said Sgt.
Wade Breur of the Department of Public Safety.
But school officials say their situation is different.
"I would suppose law enforcement officers and firefighters can access overtime
to cover additional shifts," Patterson said. "A teacher cannot be in a
neighboring classroom . . . or hold class until 10:30 at night."
The BCI backlog shocks some legislators, noting school workers' access to
"Yes, I'm very concerned," said Sen. Patrice Arent, D-Cottonwood, who sits on
the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Standing Committee.
Nearly all school workers ace the criminal history test. But a few years back a
Granite District substitute teaching before a background check was complete was
arrested for investigation of sexual abuse of a teenage relative. His rap sheet
later showed previous offenses of providing alcohol to a minor and lewdness.
Granite no longer employs substitutes before criminal background checks are
complete, thanks to a solid temporary work force, attorney and assistant to the
superintendent Martin Bates said.
BCI employs eight fingerprint technicians, who do background checks, process
fingerprints from jail bookings and perform other duties, Erickson said.
Workers process 3,000 to 4,000 fingerprints each month.
And thousands more keep flooding in.
New laws are requiring that more professionals undergo background checks. Just
Friday, HB64, requiring personal care attendants receiving public money to
submit to criminal background checks, unanimously passed the House. Fiscal
analysts said the bill, sponsored by Rep. Fred Hunsaker, R-Logan, "can be
handled within existing budgets."
Maybe so. But combined with other laws requiring background checks for massage
therapists, water workers and others, Erickson says BCI can't keep up. Workers
for awhile put in overtime, but that got too expensive, Breur said.
"One of the problems is, since 9/11, there have been more government departments
requiring background checks," he said. "We totally admit, yes, there's a
backlog. But . . . we've not just sat on our hands and said, 'We just can't do
The department, vocal on better salary packages for law enforcement officers,
has not mentioned the BCI backlog in budget presentations to lawmakers, though
leaders have met privately with one or two, Breur said.
Some lawmakers are puzzled as to why the backlog wasn't brought to their
attention. With budget priority lists due as early as Monday for various state
agencies, Arent said she wanted to call public safety commissioner Robert
Flowers to testify about the issue first thing next week.
The department actually is asking for money to ease the backlog through
technology, Breur said. The $100,000 request is rolled into a larger
supplemental funding package.
The money would buy a program called LiveScan, which would allow fingerprints to
be digitally input rather than taking prints with ink and paper and mailing them
in. LiveScan could process fingerprints within 48 hours, Breur said.
Money for LiveScan has been sought in other places, too. It could have come in a
$3 million Health Department grant, mainly aimed at state agencies creating
common standards for background check results, Thraen said.
A slice of the grant, which was awarded to Idaho instead, would have placed the
technology in 20 state locations, perhaps driver's license bureaus, Patterson
Patterson hopes the Legislature will provide the funding this year.
"We're trying to get 20th-century technology," she said. "We still don't have
Feb. 02, 2005
Warner Robins' Real-life CSI Vastly Different Than What's on TV
By Becky Purser
Macon Telegraph, GA
WARNER ROBINS - Crime scene investigators for the Warner Robins Police
Department have a lot of the crime-fighting gadgets that actors do on the
popular CSI television shows.
And there are other similarities between what real-life CSI investigators do and
what's portrayed on TV.
But there also are some key differences.
Lt. John Lanneau, who heads the CSI division for the Warner Robins Police
Department, said his team, like TV, employs the use of expensive tools to gather
• He has $10,000 worth of computer forensics equipment and a specialized CSI
investigator trained to find evidence hidden in a computer hard drive.
• He has an $18,000 Krimescope system that uses an alternate light source to
find fingerprints on nonporous surfaces like metal and glass.
• He also has a Luma-Lite that detects traces of blood, semen and other fluids
that can't be seen with a human eye, and a CyanoSafe, a fuming chamber used to
But unlike the TV show, the Warner Robins police CSI division doesn't have a
chemistry lab on site for DNA and other chemical processing. All of that goes
off to the GBI for processing, Lanneau said.
His team, which includes four CSI investigators and a full-time and part-time
latent print examiner, concentrates on physical evidence. Physical evidence
includes footwear examination, fingerprint identification, trajectory
reconstruction, drug identification, computer forensics and arson investigation.
Also, CSI actors don't have a backlog of evidence to process like real-life
investigators do. In addition to processing crime scenes, Lanneau said he also
has to handle payroll, supervise a staff and testify in court.
He also doesn't have the unlimited budget and personnel that CSI actors do.
Lanneau said there is simply not the time or the resources to process every
single piece of crime scene evidence that is collected. Many times, the call on
what to process is made by the detective, or the district attorney, or the GBI
crime lab, Lanneau said.
Lanneau also said his CSI investigators don't look as good as the TV actors in
their crisp suits after they've worked 24 to 36 hours with no sleep processing a
crime scene nonstop.
And TV doesn't show all the minute details and testing that goes on, Lanneau
said. Instead, TV gives the beginning piece of evidence and the end result - not
all the painstaking steps that go in between.
"If they did that, it would probably be too boring to watch," Lanneau joked.
But Lanneau said the actors on TV showcase experience and training that is
required in real life to be a crime scene investigator.
Lanneau said his investigators have master's degrees and specialized training in
specific areas that they're interested in beyond the basic crime scene
Another similarity is that real-life crime scene investigators work closely with
the detective on the case. But unlike TV, Warner Robins crime scene
investigators do not interview the suspects, Lanneau said.
The contact with suspects is limited to gathering evidence from the suspect's
body, clothing or home but it's never a sit-down, face-to-face meeting with
suspects as it is on TV, he said.
Of course, the biggest difference between fact and fiction is that crime
investigations on TV are wrapped up neatly in 60 minutes with the collection of
evidence and the capture of the suspect, Lanneau said.
On TV, the writers and producers select pieces of evidence to showcase in that
60 minutes and build the story around that, Lanneau said. In real life, crime
scene investigators are dealt a hand and then they process the scene to figure
out what happened, Lanneau said. Most of the time, evidence is found, but
sometimes it's not, he said.
"We're supposed to be a non-biased finder of the facts," Lanneau said.
Print Ties Suspect to Dollar Slayings, Expert Testifies
By Alicia A. Caldwell
February 3, 2005
DELAND -- A palm print found on a piece of duct tape used to bind one of the
victims of an October 2002 double slaying inside a Deltona discount store
belonged to Roy Lee McDuffie, a state fingerprint analyst told a jury Wednesday.
"The latent print and the ink print . . . were made by one and the same person,
Roy Perkins, a k a Roy McDuffie," said Florida Department of Law Enforcement
analyst David Perry, referring to a photo of a print from the tape and one it
was compared to.
Earlier Wednesday, Volusia County sheriff's Investigator Steve Willis, the lead
investigator in the case, testified that the palm print was the only physical
evidence tying McDuffie to the stabbing and shooting deaths of 27-year-old
Dawniell "D.J." Beauregard and Janice Schneider, 39.
McDuffie, 41, was a manager-in-training at the Deltona Dollar General store and
had been working the night the women were killed. One of his state-appointed
defense lawyers told the jury earlier that the evidence would show an innocent
explanation for his palm print being on the tape.
If convicted, he could face execution.
Willis also told jurors Wednesday that three phone calls were made from
McDuffie's Orlando house the weekend after the Oct. 25, 2002, killings,
including one to McDuffie's Dollar General supervisor and another to his
Troy McDuffie, Roy McDuffie's wife of 15 years, said the couple was in Bradenton
the weekend of Oct. 26 and 27, 2002. She told the jury that she did not know who
could have made those calls.
Also Wednesday, prosecutors asked Judge S. James Foxman to allow the jury to
hear about Roy McDuffie's criminal background. They withdrew the request for now
after objections from the defense.
February 4th, 2005
Arizona Sheriff Orders Fingerprinting When Traffic Citations Issued
PHOENIX (AP) -- Pulling out a license, registration and proof of insurance may
no longer be enough for some Phoenix-area drivers who are being ticketed.
Maricopa County sheriff's deputies began Thursday asking all drivers who receive
a criminal traffic citation to allow themselves to be fingerprinted. It's part
of a new pilot program Sheriff Joe Arpaio says will help fight identity theft in
Phoenix, which has the highest per-capita rate of identity theft complaints in
the country, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
In 2003, there were 6,832 cases of identity theft statewide, or 122.4 per
100,000 residents. The Phoenix area had 5,042 of those cases, or 155 per 100,000
residents. Statistics for 2004 were expected to be similar, according to the
"It's a huge problem and law enforcement needs to be proactive in fighting it,''
Deputies started carrying inkless fingerprint pads and were asking for a
thumbprint from drivers given criminal tickets - such as those issued for
excessive speeding. Most moving violations are civil offenses.
Arpaio said the program was being tested in communities southwest of Phoenix - a
socially and racially diverse 5,000-square-mile area patrolled by sheriff's
Arpaio said the new procedure is designed to ensure the person who committed the
offense is the same person being charged with a crime in the courtroom.
Fingerprinting would help identify people with stolen or falsified driver's
licenses, he said.
Arpaio stressed that giving fingerprints would be voluntary, but constitutional
law experts and civil rights groups were quick to point out problems with the
program. Many doubted whether the public would understand that they weren't
required to give their fingerprint.
"It won't be completely voluntary,'' said Paul Bender, a constitutional law
professor at Arizona State University. "Most people don't realize they have a
choice. The police likely won't say 'Would you like to give us your fingerprints
even though you don't really have to?'"
Bender also questioned how fingerprints would ultimately be used. Arpaio said
the prints would be randomly entered into a fingerprint ID system to cross check
them with identity theft claims and other crimes.
"The sheriff doesn't have the right to make that extra intrusion on someone's
privacy under the state constitution,'' Bender said, adding that he doesn't
think Arpaio should be undertaking such a pilot program without a mandate from
Eleanor Eisenberg, executive director for the Arizona chapter of the American
Civil Liberties Union, called the fingerprint program "an example of putting the
cart before the horse.''
The chapter was looking into whether the program infringes on privacy rights,
"The standard is not whether we have anything to hide,'' she said, "It's 'Does
the government have a right to invade our privacy?'''
Scottsdale Justice of the Peace Michael Reagan - who is not a lawyer - said he
thinks giving over a thumbprint is a small inconvenience compared to the hassle
of trying to prove identity theft.
"I'm seeing more and more people with warrants issued for their arrest and they
have no idea what it's about,'' he said.
"We then have to have an identity hearing, which forces me to become a
handwriting expert, and I'm not qualified,'' Reagan said. "If you had something
to fall back on, it would help get them out of this hole that someone else dug
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